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Week 7

Quick calls: Week 7

Liveblog coverage of the calls and rules interpretations in Week 7.



Keep checking here for rolling coverage throughout the day on Sunday. If you see anything confusing, unusual, or controversial, please let us know.



Ben Austro
Sun Oct 22 • 8:40 pm EDT


Seahawks joint possession call in end zone 

Seahawks at Giants (video). A pass for the end zone and both the offense and the defense have their hands on the ball. It’s a pass by Seahawks quarterback Russel Wilson, and we’ve seen this before.

Paul Richardson undisputably has control of the ball first, so if there is subsequent dual control of the ball without Richardson losing control, Richardson would win out on any possession call. Giants safety Landon Collins also gets his hands on the ball as Richardson completes the process of the catch. This is not a simultaneous catch, which would mean the receiver and the defender gain control at the same time.

Richardson gets the touchdown as field judge Scott Novak and back judge Todd Prukop exchange information quickly, much more than what was done by the replacement officials 5 years ago.

On replay, Richardson has control to contact with the ground. There is a grappling for the ball that ensues, but there is no video evidence that shows any loss of control, so the catch process is deemed to be complete. Although both players are still fighting for sole possession, there is no way to reverse that there was a loss of control. The ball is moving, but not in a way that one can say Richardson doesn’t have continuous control, even though Collins also has his hands wrapped around the ball.

Had there been evidence of Richardson bobbling control as he hit the ground, we would consider any of the actions as he rolls on top of Collins, and then touches the sideline in the struggle. In that case, an incomplete pass would have resulted, because Richardson would be touching a ball that is nominally still a pass while out of bounds.

Update: Referee Tony Corrente is calling simultaneous possession, as when Richardson started full, continuous control, he saw Collins also get control. Corrente spoke to a pool reporter after the game:

The receiver went into the air, had control of the ball, lost control, re-grasped the ball and at the same time he did, the defender grabbed the ball, also.

They went to the ground simultaneously with the football. Then they started a little wrestling match. It’s over now. That catch is established because if the defender was to pull the ball out of his hands now, it’s still a catch because the defender has a second action.

So at that point when they were on the ground together, and they’re tussling to begin with, the catch is over, that’s the touchdown. 

Now, after that is when he rolled over and we don’t have any clear view of — quote, unquote — “anything” happening after that. So that’s where it stands. 



Mark Schultz
Sun Oct 22 • 4:29 pm EDT


Spiked helmet kills rally

Dolphins at Jets. The Jets, trying to get into field goal range lost all hope for a miracle when wide receiver Robby Anderson spiked his helmet in the field of play after an incomplete pass. This is an automatic unsportsmanlike conduct foul. The penalty moved the Jets half the distance to their goal line with :08 left. 

As a dead-ball foul that has nothing to do with the action of the play, this is likely determined to be a foul that conserves time, and subject to a 10-second runoff. However, since the clock was stopped for the incomplete pass and an offensive holding foul, there is no runoff.

While the Jets needed a miracle to begin with, the unsportsmanlike conduct killed them.

Mark Schultz
Sun Oct 22 • 4:02 pm EDT


Toe-tapping TD

Buccaneers at Bills (video). Side judge Dyrol Prioleau gets to call this great Mike Evans toe-tapping touchdown. Great concentration and calm, under control signalling. 

Mark Schultz
Sun Oct 22 • 3:37 pm EDT


False start, half over

Panthers at Bears (video). The Panthers try to rush up to the line to kill the clock for a field goal attempt before the end of the first half. The Panthers never get set and are whistled for a false start as the clock hits :00. Referee Walt Coleman rightfully terminated the half by rule.

If there was still time on the clock, there would have been a 10-second runoff, but there was no time to run.

Mark Schultz
Sun Oct 22 • 3:14 pm EDT


Incomplete pass changed to spectacular catch

Jets at Dolphins (video). Side judge James Coleman rules Kenny Stills did not possess a batted and juggled pass while laying prone on the ground. After a review, Stills caught the ball without it hitting the ground and he never touched the sideline. Referee Walt Coleman announced that Stills made a spectacular catch.

James Coleman was sure of what he saw, but replay made sure the right call stood.

Mark Schultz
Sun Oct 22 • 3:00 pm EDT


No pass interference

Ravens at Vikings (video). Field judge Mearl Robinson rules no offensive or defensive pass interference on this Brandon Carr interception.. 

Ben Austro
Sun Oct 22 • 2:57 pm EDT


Trubisky short on the review

Panthers at Bears (video). Quarterback Mitchell Trubisky stretches for the goal line and is ruled to have a touchdown for the Bears. On review, Trubisky is down by contact with the ball inside the 1-yard line when he knee touches the ground. Trubisky lost the ball after being down with the ball contacting the pylon; this was not under consideration because the ball is already dead. Even if he was not down by contact, the loss of control would have come after the ball crossed the plane of the goal.

Since the play occurred after the 2-minute warning, this is a 10-second runoff. This is the one situation where the defense cannot decline the runoff, so the Panthers took a timeout to offset the runoff.

Ben Austro
Sun Oct 22 • 2:07 pm EDT


Botched pitch is defensive TD

Panthers at Bears (video). Panthers receiver Curtis Samuel lines up as a running back and attempts to field a pitch to him from quarterback Cam Newton. Samuel drops the ball, which is recovered by defensive back Eddie Jackson who returns the ball 75 yards for a Bears touchdown. There was no stop-down replay review, as the call was confirmed by the replay official. It looked as if Jackson was close to stepping out, but no angle emerged showing anything to even meriting a closer look.

Until a rules change in 1993, this would not be a touchdown for the Bears. Since it is a muffed backward pass, the old rule required the defense to catch the ball in the air in order to advance. In this case, it would have been Bears ball at the spot of the recovery.

Rich Madrid
Sun Oct 22 • 1:50 pm EDT


Catch and completion reversed to fumble

Titans at Browns. After a completed catch by the Titans, the ball came loose and was recovered by the Browns. The play was blown dead and subsequently challenged by the Browns. Replay revealed the receiver completed the catch process and fumbled going to the ground. Possession was awarded to Browns after a clear recovery.

Ben Austro
Sun Oct 22 • 1:48 pm EDT


Fair catch interference on muffed catch

Saints at Packers. Saints receiver Ted Ginn Jr. signaled for a fair catch on the punt. After bobbling the catch, Ginn was tackled and the Packers recovered the loose ball. 

A player is entitled to an unimpeded path to the ball on all kicks. However, when there is a fair catch, the receiver may not be touched until the catch opportunity ends. This extends to bobbled catches, which means that the fair-catch opportunity continues until the ball hits the ground. A kicking team player also cannot catch a muffed fair catch in the air (the exception is that if the ball bounces far enough away from the receiver that a catch is not possible).

Since Ginn was impeded from completing the fair catch, it is a foul for fair-catch interference. It is not a yardage penalty if the interference comes when the ball in muffed; it is a 15-yard penalty if the foul precedes the arrival of the punt. In both cases, the fair catch is awarded to the receiving team.

Ben Austro
Sun Oct 22 • 1:34 pm EDT


Marshawn Lynch suspended

Chiefs at Raiders (Thurs.). Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch was suspended one game for coming off the bench and pushing an official during a post-play shoving match. He was ejected from the game, and the suspension was handed down less than 24 hours later.

This is very likely to be reduced to a large (possibly six-figure) fine, based on well-established precedent of the league having major fines/suspensions reduced in the appeals process. Since there was no player-safety issue involved, there’s no reason to see that the appeals officer doesn’t handle this similarly.

Ben Austro
Sun Oct 22 • 12:46 pm EDT


Today’s officials

Week 7 referee assignments

2017 officiating crews


  • U64 Dan Ferrell* to Balkeman’s crew (TB-BUF)
  • U129 Bill Schuster* to Hochuli’s crew (WASH-PHI/Mon.)
  • DJ37 Jim Howey* to Anderson’s crew (CAR-CHI)
  • LJ68 Tom Stephan* to Cheffers’ crew (BAL-MIN)
  • FJ1 Scott Novak to Corrente’s crew (SEA-NYG)
  • FJ15 Rick Patterson* to Coleman’s crew (NYJ-MIA)

*Swing officials that are assigned to different crews each week

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